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The American Way(s)


Pentagram’s Michael Bierut contributes the cover illustration for this weekend’s edition of The New York Times Book Review. Timed to the July 4th holiday, the issue features a review by George Packer of two new books that look at how many Americans are discontent with U.S. government and the existing political system, and what it might take to incite another revolution. Charles Murray explores the issue from the right in By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission, while Chris Hedges takes a left-leaning view in Wages of Rebellion.

Bierut illustrates this bipartisan back and forth with two hand-painted drawings. The cover pictures a U.S. flag that replaces its stars and stripes with arrows that point right or left, and an interior image features a face-off between arrows in Republican red and Democrat blue. Bierut is, of course, no stranger to arrows and politics, or new takes on the U.S. flag.

New Work: Lloyd’s of London


Lloyd’s of London is the world’s specialist insurance market, conducting business in over 200 countries worldwide. Established in 1871, Lloyd’s is synonymous with London’s skyline and is based in the landmark Inside-Out building by Richard Rogers. Every year, Lloyd’s generates an annual report to send to key stakeholders. The latest edition, which is both print and digital, has been designed by Harry Pearce and team and covers the financial year of 2014.

Pearce’s brief was to create a report that used the Lloyd’s pre-existing brand guidelines, whilst being a significant departure from annual reports of previous years. The report needed to be more than a financial brochure, it had to have an editorial and utilitarian feel.

A Pentagram Production: The Poems of Henry Ponder

Naresh Ramchandani explains how we came to make a short film about one of Britain’s most thoughtful, but lesser known, poets. 

I don’t know about you, but my life affords me barely any time to think. The amount of attention I give to my family, my work and to my other duties and pleasures – all manifest through unending calls, meetings, texts, emails and to do lists which never seem to shorten – leaves me precious little time for contemplation. It wasn’t always so.

When I was younger, I used to consider the world around me, and notice things, and think things, such as no matter when you reach a place, your nose will have got there first, or the fact that a stopped clock will tell the right time twice a day. These were not idle thoughts but simple reflections on a world which I had time to attend to, be mindful of and curious about.

That’s why it was such a pleasure last year to discover a minor poet by the name of Henry Ponder, a man tweeting very short daily poems in which he contemplated his everyday world. Henry wrote about the restorative nature of sweeping a floor, and the brusqueness of the language of warning signs, and the inner-softness and vulnerability of a pain au raisin, and more. As I followed his poems, they became mini-mediations not just in his day but mine, reminding me think beyond my immediate preoccupations; reminding me to stop and smell life’s proverbial flowers.

I decided that this unknown poet deserved to be better known. I contacted him on Twitter and arranged to meet him. In person, he was a small, shy man shy with unkempt hair and thick-rimmed glasses. When I suggested the idea of making a very short film about him, he thought for a while, and then said “That would be kind.”

New Work: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Magazine


Partner DJ Stout and designer Carla Delgado in Pentagram’s Austin office have redesigned the flagship publication of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH). The second issue of the new magazine will be mailed this month. In addition to completely revamping the publication, the Pentagram team, working closely with the MFAH’s Director, Gary Tinterow, and the museum’s Publisher in Chief, Diane Lovejoy, changed the title’s name from MFAH Today to The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Magazine, or “h Magazine” for short.

New Work: World Wildlife Fund Gifts

WWF Catalog_Cover-Large

In 2013 Pentagram’s Austin office created World Wildlife, the new flagship publication for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) based in Washington DC. WWF—the group with the iconic panda logo—is the world’s leading conservation organization. WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million around the world. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to international, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.

Now partner DJ Stout and designer Kristen Keiser in Pentagram’s Austin office have redesigned WWF’s gift catalog, WWF’s annual fundraising effort. In addition to gifts like T-shirts and tote bags, WWF supporters are given the opportunity to make symbolic adoptions of wildlife around the world, and based on the level of their donations receive a formal adoption certificate, a species spotlight card, a full-color photo and a soft plush representation of the animal, or animals, they care about. The donations generated by the catalog are used in general support of WWF’s conservation efforts around the world. So far the Winter 2014-2015 gift catalog has increased sales by 10 percent.

Healing U.S. Healthcare


In his new high-profile book America’s Bitter Pill, the journalist and media entrepreneur Steven Brill explores the complex issues around American health care and healthcare reform, from the hard-won fight for the Affordable Care Act to the inner workings of Big Pharma, hospital pricing and the insurance industry. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have created a pair of striking illustrations for the cover story on the book in this week’s New York Times Book Review, using adhesive bandages to form images of the United States and the American flag.

To create the illustrations, Bierut and Pentagram designer Britt Cobb collected stock images of bandages and painstakingly placed them at various sizes to form a silhouette of the continental US (made with 272 bandages) for the cover and the Stars and Stripes (72 bandages) for an interior spread. The country’s diversity of healthcare approaches is reflected in the sheer variety of bandages, from typical “Band-Aid”-style strips of different colors to unusual shapes like butterfly and spot bandages.

From Russia With Type


Pentagram’s Paula Scher has created the cover design for this weekend’s edition of The New York Times Book Review, a special issue devoted to the subject of Russia. Inspired by Constructivist typography, Scher’s design suggests the breadth of the issue’s content, which ranges from contemporary Russia to its political history and its relationship with the US. The arrangement of type reads not only as RUSSIA, but also as USSR and USA. (Scher has a longstanding love for Constructivist type and helped revive its use in postmodern design; her iconic Best of Jazz poster turns 35 this year.)

Scher recently designed the cover of another special issue of the Book Review that focused on women and power.

Project Team: Paula Scher, partner-in-charge and designer; Irina Koryagina, designer.

New Work: ‘The New York Times Book Review’


The New York Times Book Review has commissioned Pentagram’s Paula Scher to design the cover for a special issue on women and power. Published with the paper’s Sunday, October 12 edition, the section features reviews of new books by female authors including Lena Dunham, Gail Sheehy and Katha Pollitt, among others, as well as essays about influential women including Kirsten Gillibrand, Sonia Sotomayor and Caitlin Moran. For the cover image, Scher created a graphic pattern that is both spiky and soft, with lines that radiate from the title typography.

Project Team: Paula Scher, partner-in-charge and designer; Rory Simms, designer.